Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had to address the firing of interpreter Ippei Mizuhara, who was accused of embezzling funds from Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani to pay off debt to a bookmaker. Roberts revealed that Will Ireton, also known as “Will the Thrill,” would be taking over as Ohtani’s interpreter. Ireton had previously served as the interpreter for Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda and was described as a secret weapon by Roberts for his selfless nature.

Ireton was born in Tokyo to a Japanese-American father and Spanish-Filipina mother and came to the United States at age 15. He played baseball in college and had an internship with the Texas Rangers organization before working as an intern for the New York Yankees. He then became Maeda’s translator in 2016 and was known for going above and beyond his interpreter duties. Ireton was described as a thrill by his teammates for his energy, dedication, and dance moves.

After Maeda was traded to the Minnesota Twins in 2020, Ireton remained with the Dodgers organization and transitioned into the role of performance operations manager. He was responsible for being a touchpoint for every department, ensuring that coaches and players had all the necessary resources and information for games. Ireton’s role expanded to include responsibilities in scouting and player development.

Roberts praised Ireton’s versatility and importance to the Dodgers, emphasizing his role as a critical point person for all matters relating to Japanese players. Ireton’s dedication and hard work were highlighted by Roberts, who emphasized that he trusted Ireton with various aspects of the organization, including relationships with players, scouting, and building connections in Japan. Roberts described Ireton as someone who did everything for the Dodgers.

Ireton, who helps bridge communication gaps with Japanese players, has been working diligently as Ohtani’s personal interpreter and in-game interpreter for Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto in the wake of the Mizuhara scandal. Ohtani vehemently denied involvement in any illegal betting activities and accused Mizuhara of stealing from him. Ireton has been responsible for translating Ohtani’s statements to English for the media and supporting Ohtani during this difficult time.

The Dodgers organization has relied heavily on Ireton’s expertise and dedication, recognizing his contributions on and off the field. Despite the sudden shift back into an interpreter role, Ireton has seamlessly transitioned and continued to provide valuable support to players like Ohtani. Roberts’ praise for Ireton’s selflessness, work ethic, and importance within the organization highlights the critical role interpreters like Ireton play in facilitating communication and fostering relationships with players from diverse backgrounds.

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